Friday, March 27, 2009

TB v MTL - WIN 3-2 Summary

Well! That certainly was an exciting game!

As Tampa did their best "Montreal Canadiens in March" impression, it was the Habs who absolutely shelled the opposition. Puck possession (although I don't have the stat) must have been at least 70% for the Canadiens. It was an absolutely dominant display; and Lecavelier and St. Louis brought a big fat bag of nothing with them to Montreal.

Problem was, despite having a gazillion (mathimatical term for 25 in 2 periods) shots on net, the Home Team only marked once. Ramo absolutely stood on his head and robbed, time and time again, the Habs offense. Open nets were missed, shots just tipped wide... and always with the Ramo. Ramo. Ramo! No finish.

So despite a great game from the the boys in red, the failure to punish Tampa Bay for their terrible play allowed them to steal a point, and make everyone in The Faithful more nervous than a chicken at a Texas BBQ. All it takes, in gmaes like these, is a lucky bounce and all that good energy the dominant team had goes away. And whereas the Habs this year rarely get that lucky bounce, it almost certainly goes in against us.

And so it did, and so it did -- a few lapses in concentration and immediate reprimand from the Lightning. Overtime. In a game that wasn't even close.

Luckily Koivu stopped trying to score the 'perfect' goal and just kept whackin' at the lose puck. His first 2 shots were saved; one by Ramo, one by St Louis' glove -- it wasn't until he launched a bouncing backhand from the red line that capwinged off a TB player in the crease that the Habs finally got their well deserved 2 points.

The Good
Absolutely dominating play from all the lines except the Kostitsyn / Pleks / D'Ags line. But even D'Ags had about 3 stretch pas chances. Ramo had the game of his life. The recovery in overtime to win, despite the pressure, was cool too.

The Bad
No finish. Good goalie or no, 5 goal posts or no, close ain't good enough in a game like this. After Gui! LaTender's goal, Habs relaxed a bit too much, allowing Tampa to grind out a goal...

The Ugly
In the third, when Tampa started to muck it up and play ugly, the Habs lost a step. Thank goodness Prospal is an idiot and took an elbowing penalty on Komisarek in the corner, so the Habs could settle things down.

Tampa Bay played the perfect underdog game: keep it close, then get ugly at the end to get some goals. After the second goal, the Habs thought the game was over -- and TB was able to take some momentum back. The playoffs will be like this; even with a few goals lead, teams will start making hard, ugly, physical plays to push that puck in. The Canadiens had better learn to play that game too.

Update: I never did get Evgeni Artyukhin's name right during the game-tweet. Who knew I'd need to type it so often?

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